Raptors Report! Five Best Players So Far This Season
Top Five Raptors Players So Far
With 17 games in the books, the Raptors have played a fifth of the 2017-18 NBA season. It's still early but several Raptors have already stood out and established themselves as the key pieces to the team. Some choices in this list are obvious while the fifth spot was the toughest spot to give as it could have gone to several players.
These five players not only represent the most effective Raptors but we gave bonus points for exceeding expectations. So statistically-speaking, they may not put up the gaudiest numbers but their impact, especially in relation to their role, weighed heavily.
An honourable mention goes to Pascal Siakam who just missed this list.
5. Jonas Valanciunas
It seems crazy to think that JV is only 25 and in his sixth year with the team. On the surface, Valanciunas isn't having such a great year averaging only 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks per game in 21 minutes of play. But he's fourth in the team in Player Efficiency Rating (18.5), third in offensive rating (118.4), and third in scoring average per 36 minutes (17.7). He still needs to develop his defense but JV is otherwise, not doing too badly.
4. OG Anunoby
The rookie burst onto the scene a few games ago and scored 16 points on 75 per cent shooting and was a team-best +22 against Houston. Most impressively, he held his own against MVP-candidate James Harden.
Anunoby is currently ranked second on the team in offensive rating (119.0), fifth in defensive rating (107.9) and has the second-best shooting percentage among backcourt players (47 per cent) behind only DeMar DeRozan.Best part: he hasn't even scratched his potential.
3. Kyle Lowry
In the first nine games of the season, Lowry would barely crack the top-five of this list thanks to abysmal shooting and horrid PER but since scoring a season-low two points, he's been on fire.
Lowry has shot over 50 per cent in five of his last seven games and recorded a double-double in three of his last four including a near triple-double twice. But most impressive is his defense, currently leading the team with a 108.6 rating. Hot or cold, Lowry remains the Raptors' most complete backcourt player.
2. Jakob Poeltl
How much longer before the Raptors have a Center controversy on their hands? The Austrian sophomore has been killing it this year. Poeltl ranks second in the team in PER (21.0) behind only DeRozan. He ranks first in offensive rating (121.2) and has a team-best 65.7 per cent field goal percentage.
Poeltl's per 36 minutes aren't too shabby either ranking second in rebounds (11.5) and blocks (2.6). Poeltl is making the case he isn't just a compliment to Valanciunas but an eventual replacement.
1. DeMar DeRozan
No surprises here. DeRozan, fresh off being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, remains the Raptors' main guy. DeRozan dropped 26.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6 assists on 57.3 per cent shooting in the four games last week.
Per 36 minutes, DeRozan leads the team in scoring by six points at 26.3 and is third in assists at 4.8. He leads the team in PER (23.6) and win shares (2.0). Signs point to DeRozan evolving as a playmaker and this only compliments his deadly mid-range game.
Toronto Raptors 2017-18 Season Outlook
The Raptors are currently 11-6 coming off a disappointing loss to the Knicks. They sit second in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division behind the Boston Celtics, one of only two Eastern teams hotter than the Raptors. With the softer part of their schedule coming up, the Raptors should cement their top-three position in the Conference.
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